"I want to have sex with this bone marrow," uttered the gal sitting on the barstool next to us as she closed her eyes and bit down on a tanned toast round topped with chimichurri and glistening globes of savory, meaty fat. "Seriously, if this was a man...."
Yeah, our first bites at Eating House were near damn orgasmic at times, too. That whipped ricotta tinged with lemon zest and olive oil in the shaved zucchini plate, the caramelized banana-miso blanket atop the charred Japanese eggplant (yes, you read that wacky combo right), the jar of whipped Nutella layered atop bananas foster puree and salted caramel... and don't even get us started on the fried chicken. Even the dishes we didn't have a chance to try looked simply sublime, such as the pork tenderloin in a Dr. Pepper reduction with raw and smoked apples and the Homestead tomato salad with nuoc cham, frozen coconut milk, and ginger.
But it wasn't only the food that had our senses stimulated. The trio of hotties running around the front of the house, namely chef Giorgio Rapicavoli, general manager Alex Casanova (yeah--it's an appropriate name), and our server, Eddie Fuentes, kept the ladies' eyes busy and undoubtedly made even those male customers with solid self-esteem wonder what they had to do to get even an ounce of that mojo.
As for the ambiance, well, let's start by saying it was light years better than what we expected, especially for a pop-up. Kudos to those Phuc Yea! (R.I.P.) folks for pioneering the effort successfully in Miami, but Rapicavoli lighted upon the perfect place to raise the bar for future upstarts. Café Ponce--though undeniably miles from our city's most trafficked 'hoods--is the right canvas for this young Chopped champion's "edible graffiti." It's small enough to be intimate, but big enough to host a lively crowd and decorated with adequate modern touches to make it less than tacky, yet an appropriate background for hanging street art canvases and Snoop Dogg serenades. Blessedly, there's plentiful free parking, too.
Having mentioned all that, you should know this isn't the type of place you would want to take a date if, say, you were angling to get some under-the-table action or a quick screw in the bathroom stall before dessert arrives: Eating House isn't dark enough, it's too open to properly hide in, and it's more urban-cool than sultry and swank, for sure.
And since the menu will be changing every night, it's too risky to tease someone with the promise of bone marrow if the kitchen isn't stocked with the necessities. The menu is designed to change daily, though the team claims prices will always hover in the $8-$25 range.
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Honestly, every plate we tried was as much fun as a Ducati ride, however a few of the offerings played it a little too safe to arouse us fully. Take, for example, the cod a la plancha. Though perfectly prepared, from the flaky white fish to the vivid sugar snaps, and beautifully plated, the selection was lacking that bit of whimsy the other offerings delivered. C'mon chefs--isn't a lap around the track more fun without a helmet and leathers on? Mmm. Yeah.
Eating House team, as you open your doors to the public tomorrow we just have one bit of advice: throw safety out the window and let 'er rip. Chances are Miamians are gonna let you fulfill their culinary sex-on-wheels fantasies and keep coming back for more. We have a sneaking suspicion you're that cool, mysterious bad boy we've been waiting for.
Here's what we devoured last night: